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Mental health care: From the snake pit to the streets

Illustration of a person suffering from mental illness. (Image: GrAl, via Shutterstock)

The modern history of mental-health care in California begins more than half a century ago with passage of the landmark 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, an ambitious — but ultimately disastrous —  overhaul of a draconian “system” of hoary old mental hospitals throughout California. Most of the hospitals were closed, but the “community care” that was to take their place never materialized.

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